Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chicken Nicoise Salad

Recipe Husband-Tested in Alice Wootton’s Kitchen

I was at Lost River Market & Deli last night and noticed the beautiful golden cherry tomatoes from Brambleberry Farm in the produce section. Not only are they pretty to look at, but they are so sweet, it's like eating candy!! They'll also have them at the Orange County HomeGrown Farmers Market. Seeing those local cherry tomatoes got me inspired to include this delicious chicken salad recipe. It can be made in advance, so it's perfect for a party or picnic. Nicoise [nee-SWAHZ] is a French phrase that means "as prepared in Nice," typifying the cuisine found in and around that French Riviera city. This cooking style is identified with hot and cold dishes that include the integral ingredients of tomatoes, black olives, garlic and anchovies. Nicoise Salad usually contains these basic ingredients plus French green beans, onions, tuna, hard-cooked eggs and herbs. The recipe below is a variation using chicken.

1 whole chicken breast
· 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or 1 can chicken broth
· 5 whole cloves
Add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove skin and bones from chicken and tear into pieces when cool enough to handle.
· ½ pound fresh green beans, whole
· 4 small red potatoes or ½ pound, sliced ¼ inch
· 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
· 1 ounce can chopped or sliced black olives, drained
· fresh spinach or leaf lettuce (optional)

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch first the beans, and then the potatoes until the beans are crisp tender and the potatoes are cooked through. Plunge them in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain well.

· 2 Tablespoons olive oil
· 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
· 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
· 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
· 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
· ½ teaspoon dried oregano

Place dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until thoroughly combined. Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing and serve.

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